Why Do Plants Need Nitrogen?

Why do plants need nitrogen, and how do I know if my plants need more of it? Let’s take a few minutes to cover this essential plant nutrient.

Plants need nutrients to thrive, and nitrogen is one of those primary nutrients. But what is nitrogen exactly and why do plants need it? Let’s dive into nitrogen and its relationship with plants, and then also answer the question, “How do I know if my plants need nitrogen?

What Is Nitrogen?


Nitrogen is an element that exists naturally (and abundantly) in Earth’s atmosphere. It allows earth’s living things to create protein and is often in a gaseous state. Nitrogen combines with other elements in the soil in order to complete the activities vital to plant life.



Why Is Nitrogen Important for Plants?

Without nitrogen, plants won’t have the right “stuff” to be healthy. This is because nitrogen is involved in a variety of plant processes, including photosynthesis. Nitrogen also plays a role in the growth of tissues and cells found within the plant, as well as the formation of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps plants receive energy from light — which is a pretty big deal.

Nitrogen also aids in the formation of protein — which is involved in many biochemical reactions within plants. And last but certainly not least, nitrogen plays an active role in the growth and reproduction of cells — which, again, is a pretty big deal.


How do I know if my plants need more nitrogen?

If you’re wondering, “How do I know if my plants need more nitrogen?” the answer can be found one of two ways.

The first way is to take a look at the leaves. If the leaves are yellowing, this can be a sign of chlorosis — which could also be a sign that your plant is in need of nitrogen. Keep in mind, however, yellowing leaves can also indicate a few other issues (like overwatering).

The second way is to perform a soil test. However, soil tests can be tricky, and they aren’t always accurate.

While a soil test is designed to help you determine what your soil might be lacking, it doesn’t test all of your soil — only one part of it. In other words, the results for one small section of your soil may not be accurate for the rest of your soil. If you add amendments to your soil based on one test result from one section, you could end up damaging the other sections of your soil.

Secondly, soil tests are designed to tell you what nutrients are in the soil, but it won’t tell you what (or how much) nutrients are in a plant-available form. It would be something like the difference between cows and hamburgers. We eat hamburgers — not cows. This same concept holds true with the nutrients in your soil. Many can be in a form that plants simply can’t absorb. Needless to say, soil tests don’t always give us the information we are looking for.


simple plant deficiency guide


What if my plant is not nitrogen-deficient but it still looks bad?

Nitrogen is only one of the 16 essential plant nutrients, and your plant needs all 16 nutrients to remain healthy. If your plant is not lacking nitrogen but still looks to be in bad shape, then your plant might be deficient in a different nutrient.

If you want to learn more about these nutrients, take a look at the following articles:


But if you don’t want to get a PhD in chemistry, we recommend using a soil treatment like GardenMAX or TurfMAX. Not only do these treatments contain all 16 essential plant nutrients, but they also have a ton of other great benefits. For example, they can correct pH imbalances, add beneficial microbes to the soil, and slow-release fertilizer. Even better, they’re super easy to use — apply on top and water in.


Final Thoughts

Nitrogen is essential for plants, so if you think your plant is missing this nutrient, you need to act fast. Unfortunately, testing for nitrogen deficiencies in plants isn’t the clearest thing to do. But luckily, there’s another way to overcome this hurdle.

With a soil treatment from Green As It Gets, you can easily transform your soil into a place where plants love to grow. These soil treatments work fast to correct pH imbalances and supply your soil with any missing nutrients. It’s intelligent, advanced, and ready to go to work for your soil.

To learn more about these innovative soil treatments, check out these articles:


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